Climb the namesake feature of the Beartooth mountains, the iconic Bears Tooth. Visible from the top of the Beartooth Pass, this unforgettable glacial horn stands isolated with a dining table sized summit and up to 7 pitches of 5th class climbing. Due to its remote location, rugged approach, and challenging climbing, the Bears Tooth is a rarely visited and memorable summit. Be one of the few to sign its original register!
Beginner to intermediate 5.8 climbing ability, experience backpacking required
Ability to carry 50 lb pack for 3 days
July to September
3 days, 2 nights in the mountains
Red Lodge, MT
Rental equipment, group cooking equipment, & instruction from a professional guide
Food, transportation, lodging, personal items, and guide gratuity
Day 1 is a big trail day, starting out with the gradual and well beaten path on the Lake Fork Trail. After 5 miles, we break from the comfort of this trail onto a deteriorating path that eventually terminates in talus at the toe of Black Canyon Lake. Although only a short distance around the lake, its loose boulder navigation presents the real crux of the approach. Once past the lake, we stake out camp high enough to maximize our summit push. This day can be 8-10 hours of travel.
Day 2 is our summit day. Typically starting near dawn, we climb up from camp on grassy slopes with the Bears Tooth finally in view. Seasonally, this may require ice axes and crampons. Once near the ridge, the technical climbing begins and we multi pitch climb from here to the summit. The final pitch is where the climbing becomes most exposed and, coincidentally, holds the most challenging moves at 5.8. After sharing the summit and signing the register, we begin the long and technical descent by retracing our steps up the route. Back at camp that afternoon, we may opt to move our camp further down towards Black Canyon Lake. This day can be upwards of 12 hours long.
Day 3 is the exit. Exhausted from the efforts of the previous days, we make sure to rest well for our descent hike. Fortunately, we cross the challenging talus beside Black Canyon Lake first thing, then the trail just gets better from there out. After 4-5 hours of travel, we are back at the trailhead.
The Bears Tooth is a 500’ spire feature detached from Beartooth Mountain. Many tourists have viewed the Bears Tooth from the comfort of their vehicle on highway 212, but few climbers have made the challenging hike and climb to its unique summit. It is one of a few glacial horns in the region, carved by massive ice flows moving through the Beartooths during the last ice age.
The horn itself can be approached from various drainages and aspects, but only one route currently exists to its summit. Our trips climb from the Lake Fork drainage, crossing through the Black Canyon, and ascending from further down the East ridge. This involves more technical climbing, but provides safer access to the upper route, rated at 5.8.
Although the Lake Fork is a common hiking trail, we quickly break free from any crowds when we travel on the unmaintained path leading to Black Canyon Lake. From here, expect a pure alpine wilderness experience as very few parties choose to continue past the lake. Granite walls, alpine meadows, and babbling creeks dominate the landscape from here to the remains of the glacier.
There are multiple camping locations, with the best either tucked in house sized boulders or beside pristine alpine meadows. This is Beartooth climbing at its finest.
MEET YOUR GUIDES
Aki grew up in the small town of Placerville, California. Early on, he was introduced to climbing & skiing in the Sierra Nevada foothills. At 17, he moved to Montana and started guiding... Read More
Anju Samuelson grew up in Berlin, Germany and lived in Turkey, Chile and the USA. She has been climbing for 8 years all over Europe, the US and South America. Her passion is to explore cultures through...
Austin has 15 years climbing, skiing, mountaineering and guiding in Montana, Wyoming and Washington with expedition experience in South America, Antarctica, Canada and Africa. He is a also...